Director – Tim Ritter (Killing Spree, Dirty Cop No Donut)
Starring – John Brace (Cheers), Mary Fanaro (Demon Queen), and Bruce Gold (Full House)
Release Date – 1986
Rating – 3.5/5
Shot on video, or S.O.V., horror flicks are some of the most sought after horror films there is. So many collectors pay ridiculous amounts of money for movies that was never circulated for various reasons. Some do find these hidden gems in garage sales or thrift stores where the filmmaker has passed away and a relative has no idea that the copy they have is the only copy in existence. Others like the look and style of S.O.V. and set out to collect them all. The last decade or so has saw a huge push of S.O.V. horror films from the video era find their way to DVD and blu.
Tim Ritter is known for his late 80s and early 90s S.O.V. horror films and has made a name for himself in the horror community because of them. In 1986 Ritter made the horror film Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness which was based on a short film of his. The film recently found it’s way to DVD courtesy of SRS Cinema who was kind enough to send a review copy my way. Thanks guys!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Mike Strauber who is a successful business man living the life. He has a beautiful home, a sexy care, and a trophy wife. The only problem is his smoking wife is cheating on him with his best friend Jerry. This triggers an urge to kill. He kills his wife’s lover but she is able to fight him off with a knife. He is eventually captured and institutionalized. After some time he is able to escape after he mutilates his face. Now he’s ready for another wave of truth or dare…**Spoiler Alert**
S.O.V. to me means I’m in store for a low budget flick full of cheap gore and that classic tape look. I grew up during the video store boom and I miss that. I like seeing a film re-mastered and restored but sometimes its cool to see the gritty look of a tape. Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness had a lot riding on it especially after I heard that Elijah Wood said this was the film that sparked his love for the genre. I have to say that it was everything I could have dreamed of.
The acting in this one is rough even by indie standards. The cast tries their hardest but their performance comes off as flat. Their dialogue has no emotion behind and just spews from their mouth like they are reading to the tenants in a nursing home which is strange considering how much of the cast had a solid resume on imdb.
The story for this one is far from perfect but it fit perfectly for an S.O.V. horror flick. The premise of a man snapping and killing people to the tune of the kids game truth or dare was pretty fucking clever. It added a fun twist to the classic slasher tale while keeping it campy like most S.O.V. horror films are. There is a few scenes that drag on but these are few and far in between.
Finally, this one has several amazing on screen kills. For an S.O.V. flick this one had a decent budget and the effects show it. The kills are brutal with great effects but they are nothing that new. Nothing groundbreaking but fun. Overall, Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness is a must for any horror collector and essential for S.O.V. fans. check it out.